Saturday, January 21, 2017

Energy Bombs Chewing Gum Cinnamon


Over the Christmas holidays, I had a chance to try Energy Bombs gum. It was an early evening, I was feeling a bit tired, but didn’t want to get a coffee out of fear for not being able to sleep later. But then I remembered that I had a pack of Energy Bombs. The package told me that each piece contains 40 mg of caffeine and I thought that would be great for a quick boost...and to try a new product.

Taste

I was sent the cinnamon flavor, and though I am not the biggest cinnamon fan, I didn’t mind it. The cinnamon is well done and its peppery intensity is kept to a minimum at the very start. After a couple of minutes, the tingling/burning sensation recedes and you are left with a mellow cinnamon flavor.

But, once the intensity goes away, you do get a hint of the energy ingredients. They don’t impart overly bitter flavor, but there is just enough bitterness to remind you that you are chewing no ordinary gum. And only for a short period of time. By the time I had left my place and was at the streetcar stop, there were no traces of the energy ingredients.

Another thing I should point out is the longevity of the gum. I was out for about 3 hours and the gum was still chewy and elastic at the end. Many caffeinated gums turn into mush after an hour or so due to their ingredients, but not this one.

Energy

The label advertises that 2 pieces of gum equal an energy drink. And it is not lying. The 1 piece I had gave me an amazing boost without robbing me of my sleep later on. It also didn’t give me the jitters. Two pieces gave me a nice and excited feeling and a jittery feeling for a short time. Four pieces should equal a Monster, but chewing so much gum might be a problem...and I don’t want to find out.

Scores:
Cost - $2.99 for the pack
Taste - 8.5/10
Energy - 5/10 to 10/10...depending on the numbers of pieces you chew

Overall - 13.5/20 to 18.5/20

Friday, January 6, 2017

Marley One Drop Vanilla Swirl Chocolate Coffee


Following the same release schedule as a few years back (5-6 years), Marley Beverage Co released some coffee drinks as well under the One Drop label. I got this fine can of One Drop Vanilla Swirl Chocolate from a 7-11 near me for $2.99.

Taste

Pour this into a classy clear glass, because it looks classy as f***. The color is light brown and if you shake it a little before opening it, a very nice crema will form on top, which makes this beverage look like something you got from a coffee shop.

This One Drop smells like a sweet iced coffee with notes of vanilla and chocolate...which I guess is exactly as described on the label - vanilla swirl chocolate. It tastes incredibly sweet at first with a crushing wave of sugar, vanilla and milk chocolate. If you were to focus for a moment, you will feel like you are actually eating soft serve vanilla/chocolate ice cream. The coffee flavor comes in right after and introduces mildly bitter notes but they help control the sweetness for a moment, because the finish comes with another wave of sugar and more of the ice cream flavors. The aftertaste is surprisingly delicious with mild vanilla, milk chocolate and coffee notes. Some milk funkness appears for a moment, but it is well under control compared to other milk-based iced coffees.

Energy

There is no clear indication of how much caffeine is in the can and I was not successful finding an answer through the internets, but maybe if you spend more than 10 seconds searching and find the answer, please leave a comment below. I will speculate that the can contains around 100 - 120 mg of caffeine based on the effects.

Compared to other sugary iced coffees, the effects are a bit slower to come, but when they come, expect a 10-15 minute period of focus and a very brief jittery period. Very weird. For me, the caffeine kick was surprisingly clean. I felt more calm, yet and awake for the 2 hours than overcaffeinated and excited as I would have felt with a comparable energy drink. The end was without any drama.

When I first bought this drink, I felt like I would get diabetes and my nerves will be shaken, but I actually really enjoyed the taste and the performance. I would not make this my go-to drink given its sweetness level, but it is definitely one to try.

Scores:
Cost - $2.99
Taste - 9/10
Energy - 6.5/10

Overall - 15.5/20...sweet, but rich with a calm kick

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Guru Sparkling Energy Water Lime


This is the last of the new Guru Sparkling Energy Waters. I picked it up at a fancy grocery store in Hamilton for $2.99, but I have seen it at a few places in Toronto and southwestern Ontario.

Taste

Unlike the other two Guru energy waters, this one is a tad cloudy and screams "flavored water". It smells like a Sprite/7-Up/Mountain Dew combo with hints of creamy limes but it tastes nothing like it. It actually tastes like club soda with a generous squirt of fresh lime juice. The excessive carbonation makes the first part of each sip taste like nothing, but after that you are hit with a healthy dose of sour limes that make your mouth pucker up.

Green tea and stevia notes are present in the aftertaste, but thanks to the strong lime flavor, they are not as prevalent as with the other two Guru energy waters.

Energy

There are 100 mg of caffeine and the effects are noticeable within 10-15 minutes. I got a very mild case of the jitters that lasted mere minutes and then a short period of clarity and focus before the caffeine kicked in and gave me a nice 2 hour kick. There was no drama at the end when the effects ended.

Scores:
Cost - $2.99
Taste - 8.2/10
Energy - 7/10

Overall - 15.2/20...my favorite of the Guru Sparkling Energy Waters

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Guru Energy Water Pomegranate Review


I bought all of my Guru Energy Water cans from a fancy grocery store in Hamilton, but since then (August, 2016), I have seen them pop up across Toronto in health stores, fancy grocery stores and some convenience stores that have always carried Guru products. Cost? I paid $2.99, but the cost could be as high as $3.49.

Taste

This energy water is as clear as regular water. There are some bubbles, but there is nothing that indicates its flavor. That is until you stick your nose in the can. When you do that, there is a sour pomegranate aroma as well as a bit of a granny smith apple. The flavor doesn't come in until a few moments after you take a swig and after the bubbles settle. The flavor feels artificial, but this energy water does taste like pomegranate, with some cranberries and a bit of apples. Some earthy green tea comes towards the finish and lingers well into the aftertaste alongside subtle stevia notes.

I like this one a tad better than the Grapefruit one I had a few months ago, because the pomegranate adds a bit of tartness, but I am just not a fan of the energy waters in general.

Energy

There are 100 mg of caffeine that come from green tea. The effects are surprisingly powerful and quick for an energy water with no sugar. I felt a bit jittery within 15 minutes of consuming half the can. Compared to a sugary energy drink, I wasn't as jittery, but I did get a leg twitch.

With the caffeine fully in my system, I got a good kick for just over 2 hours. No crash at the end.

Scores:
Cost - $2.99
Taste - 7.8/10
Energy - 7/10

Overall - 14.8/20...slightly tart

Friday, November 4, 2016

Two Bears Cold Brew Coffee


Though I have tried Two Bears in the past, their cold brew coffee is surprisingly hard to find where I live considering the fact they are local. Luckily I happened to walk by a food fest along the waterfront where one of the vendors was none other than Two Bears! So brace yourself for reviews.

Taste

The coffee is a little cloudier than expected probably due to the sedimentation that I re-introduced when I shook the bottle. It smells like a sweet drip coffee with subtle chocolate notes. The taste is watery at first but develops as it travels along the tongue to the back. There is absolutely no bitterness at any point. Some sourness is present which gives the coffee some brightness, a clean finish and just a touch of citrus at the end.

Now, a word on the coffee. The flavor is light and free of bitterness but lacks boldness. The sourness dominates the taste at times I was expecting the coffee to shine through. That could mean that it is wasn't brewed long enough (underextracted),  maybe not enough coffee was used, or just that the coffee has high acidity. Whatever the case may be, I thought it could be bolder.

Energy

No mention of caffeine content anywhere on the label, but the effects are similar to that of a cup of strong coffee. The sourness also perked me up at the start so that's a bonus.

Scores:
Cost - $4
Taste - 7/10
Energy - 7.8/10

Overall - 14.8/20...sour

Monday, October 31, 2016

V8 Energy Drinks in Canada


Finally V8 (actually Campbell Soup Company) answered my years of prayers and brought some of their energy drinks north of the border. As of late summer/early fall you are able to officially purchase V8 Peach Mango and Pomegranate Blueberry energy drinks for $2.49 each. Ouch! My complaint now is - why are they $2.49 in Canada when a 6-pack costs $5.99 in the US? But one step at a time.

Peach Mango

The last time I had Peach Mango was in 2012 and I gave it a glowing review saying it was one of the best energy drinks I ever had, etc. The Canadian version is a little different. The peach is still well defined and comes through at the start, and the mango is still mellow and helps round off the finish, but there is a lot more of the green tea and stevia throughout each sip. The US version also has green tea and stevia, but my recollection is that they are a little more subtle.

The slight differences take down the overall enjoy-ability a notch, but this V8 is still a decent tasting energy drink.

Taste - 7.8/10

Pomegranate Blueberry

I have never been tempted to get this one in the US before because of its generic flavor combo, but when in Canada, totally different story.

This red, cranberry-like juice smells just like a POM combo juice. The pomegranate is mild and comes through clearly right from the start, but is closely followed by equally strong notes of stevia. The blueberry portion rounds off the end and lingers into the finish giving your mouth a mellow candy-like feel. Green tea notes come out near the end and are not as pronounced as with the Peach Mango drink.

Overall, the stevia and green tea are better hidden here because of the lightly tart nature of the pomegranate.

Taste - 9/10

Energy

Like its brethren south of the border, the Canadian cans contain 80 mg of caffeine each. The effects are not as intense as a can of Red Bull since there are only 11 grams of sugar, but you still get a brief sugar rush within 10-15 minutes. I did not experience any jitters and even felt focused for a bit. When the caffeine kicked, it gave me about 1.5 hours of energy which slowly went away without any drama.

Scores:
Cost - $2.49 per can
Energy - 6/10

Overall - 13.8/20 to 15/20

Friday, October 28, 2016

Marley Mellow Mood Mixed Berry Sparkling Water


There are so many energy waters this summer so I guess shouldn't be so surprised that Marley Mellow Mood has decided to do a sparkling water relaxation drink.

Taste

The super light pink sparkling beverage is super weird tasting. At least at first. The initial taste is this sour, artificially sweetened (erythritol), artificially flavored medley of berries which gets amplified by the carbonated nature of the drink. Once the carbonation dies  you are left with the artificial berry mess that is hard to separate out and focus on individual flavors. Is there raspberry? Maybe? Maybe it is cherry, or maybe it is cranberry. Even the label doesn't say what the mixed berry is actually. 

Not a fan at all.

Performance

There are 80 mg of the relaxation blend, which is more than some of the other flavors that contain 50 mg. So despite its odd flavor, the beverage works...sort of. Each cold, carbonated sip actually pepped me up a little. This would have worked a little better if it was non-carbonated.

Anywaaaays, after a long evening of work involving some more coffee than I am used to, I had to consume this beverage to force myself to sleep. I was feeling the calming effects within 20-30 minutes despite the pep effect each sip had. My eye lids were getting heavy within another 10, but I was starting to feel the struggle with the coffee that was still in my system. I felt parts of my body tremble a bit and cursed myself for having that one coffee so late. Despite the heaviness of my eye lids, it took a lot longer for me to fully calm down and go to sleep than the times I didn't have a late coffee. Curses!!! Still, that's on me and not Marley.

Scores:
Cost - $3.29
Taste - 5/10
Performance - 9/10

Overall - 14/20...probably the least tasty Marley to date